Natalie du Toit goes into tonight’s women’s S9 100 metres freestyle final full of confidence after winning her heat on Monday morning at the IPC World Swimming Championships.
Du Toit will look to claim her second medal of the Championships, after winning gold in world record time on Saturday night in the 100 metres butterfly.
The 22-year-old was just 0.1 seconds off her 100 metres freestyle world record time on Monday morning, as she accounted for her friend and rival, Stephanie Dixon of Canada (1min 06 secs). Dixon’s team-mate Darda Geiger was third in a time of 1min 07 secs.
Handri de Beer was another South African to advance to Monday evening’s finals, after winning an unexpected bronze medal on Sunday night, when finished fourth in the women’s S12 100 metres butterfly.
De Beer’s coach Theo Verster was excited about the 24-year-old’s prospects of maybe pulling out another surprise. “She really did a good swim this morning. She was totally relaxed, and if she drops a second we may be in for a surprise.”
Shareen Sapiro, Emile Gray and the South African relay team were also in action during Monday morning’s heats. Sapiro finished 15th in the women’s S10 100 metres freestyle, while Gray ended 19th in the women’s S9 100 metres freestyle.
Verster, who has been coaching the South African team in Durban with Liezel Theron, was overjoyed by the performances of his swimmers on Sunday.
“It was an awesome day! We didn’t expect the bronze medals, they sneaked in there. Handri (De Beer) hasn’t swum a medal in a world championships so that was great for her. The youngster, Shareen (Sapiro) showed big match temperament that’s seen her into this team, and this kind of performance can only bode well for the Paralympics in two years’ time.